Gitana 13 en route to the Java Sea
The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group has been sailing in southern latitudes since last night. After a fifth and rather unproductive day at sea, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew crossed the equator shortly before midnight (UT). This passage into the southern hemisphere, combined with the establishing of the SE'ly tradewinds marks a new start in the record attempt between Hong Kong and London. This Wednesday morning, the Sunda Strait was just 200 miles ahead of the bows of Gitana 13.

The crew of the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has had to patiently await the beneficial SE'ly tradewinds, an air flow which is synonymous with considerable acceleration. Indeed, Lionel Lemonchois and his men have had to extract themselves from a zone of light winds, which were barring their route: “Last night we finally hit the SE'ly tradewinds, after a day which I can best describe as laborious. We opted to cross the Doldrums, which stretched between Borneo and Singapore, on the Indonesian side. We stayed with the breeze the whole time but some big clouds, which are fairly characteristic of this zone, blocked the establishing of the tradewinds and hence the hour of our deliverance… We just had to be patient!” confided Dominic Vittet from the chart table of the 33 metre vessel.

However, this patience has been rewarded since Gitana 13 is now making good headway, full and by, at over 20 knots on its way to the Java Sea. In order to get there they will adopt the Gaspar Strait; a narrow passage which separates the Indonesian islands of Bangka and Belintung: “We're finally having some fun! The SE'ly tradewind has kicked in and is pushing us along towards the Gaspar Strait at what is at last a speed worthy of Gitana 13. It's a fairly narrow passage – 2 miles wide – and pretty shallow, but the current conditions are enabling us to adopt this route, which will nevertheless reduce our course towards the Sunda Strait” explained the onboard navigator.

The day ahead will consist of a passage across the Java Sea; a zone famed for its numerous oil rigs for the extraction of oil and gas, as well as the many fishing boats which pass across it. This, added to the proximity of the coast will require a good dose of vigilance on the part of the ten sailors aboard the maxi-catamaran. Finally, it shouldn't be forgotten that the crew of Gitana 13 will have to negotiate this passage under the cover of darkness; Lionel Lemonchois and his men being 5 hours ahead of us.

Some figures

Gitana 13 left Hong Kong on Thursday 14th August at 07h55'32'' (UT)
Wednesday 20th August at 07h15 (UT), Gitana 13 was sailing at 02°13.32 S / 107°19.92 E

Watch No1: Lionel Lemonchois (Skipper / watch leader / helmsman) / Olivier Wroczynski (trimmer /head of computers and power)  / David Boileau (Bowman /  head of deck fittings)

Watch No.2: Ludovic Aglaor (watch leader / helmsman) / Laurent Mermod (trimmer) / Ronan Le Goff (Bowman)

Watch No.3: Pascal Blouin (Watch leader / helmsman) / Ronan Guérin (trimmer) / Léopold Lucet (No.1, head of supplies and doctor)

Outside the watch system: Dominic Vittet (navigator)

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